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Sojourner 12-08-2013 09:33 PM

Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
Greetings All,

I have a query about the various schools of Aikido and the syllabus they teach from.

I have done some checking around with the various Aikido places around my city and it seems to be that the following groups are represented. I gather that some groups are independent but still graded with the Aikikai according to their websites,

Aikikai,
Ki Society
Yoshinkan Aikido
Aikido Kenkyukai International (Affiliated to AIkikai)
Traditional Aikido Australia (Affiliated to Aikikai)

I guess what I am wondering is how they are different from each other and if they have a different area of focus in terms of how Aikido is taught? I am not asking you to grade one as better than the other though as I realize that is open to personal interpretation and what suits one person may not suit another and so on.

The Ki Society and the Kenkyukai are the closest for me, so good options to try first, but I am very interested to hear from people that know of all these groups for what I might expect there and so on.

lbb 12-09-2013 07:21 AM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
In my opinion, I don't think any of the abstract differences between the styles would give you information that would help in deciding where to train. It's the concrete and substantial differences between the dojos that you need to look at. Don't "try" any of them. Call and ask to observe a class, and then do so -- at all of them. You won't understand much of what you see, but that's OK. Just observe the dojo, the training, how the students and sensei act before, during and after, and ask yourself if that -- what you see right in front of you, exactly that and nothing else -- is what you want to do. Double-check by asking the sensei or students afterwards if the class was typical, but chances are it will be. Then, make your decision based on this. Don't decide based on some abstract notion of what this style or that style "focuses on" -- look at what's right in front of your face. If that's not what you want to do, there's no way you'll ever get to this elusive "focus".

Andrew S 12-09-2013 12:26 PM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
To add to what Mary has said, even a different teacher within the same dojo may give a totally different feeling, have a different approach, etc. which you may or may not find matching your personality better.

My personal bias: give David Scott at the Aikiai a call - I used to train under him about 15-20 years ago.

mathewjgano 12-09-2013 01:59 PM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
For a general idea of the stylistic differences you can see a lot on youtube, but I agree with Mary and Andrew for where the real differences can be found.
Here's a quick, incomplete sampling of video:
Ki Society
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc_v_bqq1aA
Yoshinkan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsZFfFtMSh8
Aikido Kenkyukai
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pqGHLrOlI0

danielajames 12-09-2013 07:06 PM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
There wass a great informal aiki community down there (when i visited a while back) between many of the schools (a few are more exclusive though) so join one and your your joining them all in some senses

Sojourner 12-10-2013 06:18 AM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
Thank you! I admit that I am reading stuff from various sources and it does get confusing! Thank you all for the video's, links and advice it is very much appreciated!

crbateman 12-10-2013 03:04 PM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
Go.
See.
Feel.
Think.
Decide.

dreamborn 12-12-2013 11:13 AM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
Quote:

Mary Malmros wrote: (Post 332987)
Don't "try" any of them. Call and ask to observe a class, and then do so -- at all of them. You won't understand much of what you see, but that's OK. Just observe the dojo, the training, how the students and sensei act before, during and after, and ask yourself if that -- what you see right in front of you, exactly that and nothing else -- is what you want to do. Double-check by asking the sensei or students afterwards if the class was typical, but chances are it will be. Then, make your decision based on this.

Excellent advice, this is what I did!:) Six years later still happy with my choice.

Kent

Stephen Nichol 12-12-2013 06:13 PM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
Quote:

Ben White wrote: (Post 333039)
Thank you! I admit that I am reading stuff from various sources and it does get confusing! Thank you all for the video's, links and advice it is very much appreciated!

I would not read 'too much' right for as you have noticed... it just gets confusing.

Start with how Mary suggested by contacting one teacher arrange to watch a class or even two (I watched over a weeks worth before I joined my dojo) and repeat this with as many dojo's as you are interested and then you be able to make the best decision for yourself with that experience and information. Perhaps prepare a short list of questions for anything you are curious about.

Be honest in your goals if asked by the teachers of these dojo's as it goes a long way towards them understanding what you are searching for and they will hopefully be equally honest in their responses if they have what you are looking for.

Going slightly beyond your question: even once you begin your training.. reading :stuff: on the internet can and will be confusing. Too many differences in vocabulary and 'conceptual' Aikido will leave you with more questions that you or your teacher may be prepared to answer. (I try to see what is similar more than what is different, common ground is always best.)

The key will be patience and remembering to just have fun with it. Learning curves and plateaus will happen and they are just part of the process.

Good luck and have fun.

BJohnston 12-13-2013 04:47 PM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
If you're lucky enough to have all styles available to you to observe that'd be great. I live in a part of the world where there aren't quite that many options. I was quite lucky to have been able to find a style that quite suits my desired approach to the art. Since joining my dojo I've been able to train with quite a few styles. Each style has a different approach and focus. Hopefully you can find something that suits your desired approach.

B

Edgecrusher 12-31-2013 09:12 AM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
Try them all and pick the one that feels right for you.

SeiserL 12-31-2013 09:37 AM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
Quote:

Clark Bateman wrote: (Post 333058)
Go.
See.
Feel.
Think.
Decide.

Re-Decide if necessary.

kfa4303 12-31-2013 12:36 PM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
Aside form the various techniques, which will no doubt seem strange, pay attention to the overall "vibe" of the dojo. Are people smiling? Do they appear to be enjoying themselves, or are they laboring thorough one tedious exercise after another? What is the ratio of talking to practicing, etc...After all, it's supposed to be enjoyable and enriching, rather than just another chore at the end of the day. Osensei himself said that Aikido should be practiced in a joyous manner, just like any other art form.

lbb 01-01-2014 12:38 PM

Re: Advice on Schools of Aikido
 
Quote:

Karl Arant wrote: (Post 333848)
Aside form the various techniques, which will no doubt seem strange, pay attention to the overall "vibe" of the dojo. Are people smiling? Do they appear to be enjoying themselves, or are they laboring thorough one tedious exercise after another? What is the ratio of talking to practicing, etc...After all, it's supposed to be enjoyable and enriching, rather than just another chore at the end of the day. Osensei himself said that Aikido should be practiced in a joyous manner, just like any other art form.

...although, speaking for myself, I have to say that the things that appeal to me now are not the things that would have appealed to me as a newbie. So, yeah, you do want to look to see if the people training seem happy (which doesn't necessarily mean goofy-smiling all the time), and not so much at what they're doing -- which, as Karl says, won't make sense and probably won't seem too enjoyable to you right now.


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